The Hitler Salute

On the Meaning of a Gesture

Tilman Allert

Metropolitan Books

Download Image Tilman Allert The Hitler Salute

Available Formats

BookeBook
A strikingly original investigation of the origins and dissemination of the world’s most infamous greeting
 
Sometimes the smallest detail reveals the most about a culture. In Heil Hitler: The History of a Gesture, sociologist Tilman Allert uses the Nazi transformation of the most mundane human interaction—the greeting—to show how National Socialism brought about the submission and conformity of a whole society.
Made compulsory in 1933, the Hitler salute developed into a daily reflex in a matter of mere months, and quickly became the norm in schools, at work, among friends, and even at home. Adults denounced neighbors who refused to raise their arms, and children were given tiny Hitler dolls with movable right arms so they could practice the pernicious salute. The constantly reiterated declaration of loyalty at once controlled public transactions and fractured personal relationships. And always, the greeting sacralized Hitler, investing him and his regime with a divine aura.

The first examination of a phenomenon whose significance has long been underestimated, Heil Hitler offers new insight into how the Third Reich’s rituals of consent paved the way for the wholesale erosion of social morality.

Connect with the Author

Sign Up for
Author Updates

Macmillan Newsletter


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

Book Excerpts

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

In 1937 Samuel Beckett took an extended trip to Germany. As he was walking through the streets of Regensburg, Bavaria, on March 3, a sign above the portal of the Dominican church caught his attention. He noted in his travel diary: “Walk away past Dominikanerkirche, that I don’t look at, except to see on northern door notice Grüss Gott crossed out+replaced by Heil Hitler!!!”

This observation, part of the “flotsam” of names and dates with which Beckett filled his journal, became one of the many “straws” he collected so as

Read the full excerpt

Back

Reviews

Praise for The Hitler Salute

“Stirring… Allert’s The Hitler Salute, a joyously sharp account of a massively evil slice of human history, doesn’t treat the Nazis’ obligatory two-word, one-arm greeting as a product of evil, but as its enabler. He argues, movingly, that the salute wounded Germans’ sociability, connectedness, and personal sovereignty, warping the holy human order.”
—The New York Observer

“The natural counterpart to the oft-used, darkly ironic quip ‘there’s no business like Shoah business’ is that nothing sells quite like the Nazis. Tilman Allert’s slim, understated book, however, has no part in that cottage industry.… With its analytic punch and range of fresh insights, The Hitler Salute offers a novel contribution to what frequently appears to be an old, tired—and, alas, tiresome—discussion of the Third Reich.”
—Bookforum

“Tilman Allert encourages us to look at the microcosmic world of greetings to see how social mores decay… The Hitler salute was not only a stark indication of the extent to which ideology intruded into the most pedestrian routines of everyday life but, according to Allert, also served to ‘silence a nation’s moral scruples.’”
—The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Insightful… Allert’s book shows how much can be gained from a close study of the daily rituals we barely think about yet are packed with meaning.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A compact, lucid study of the Third Reich’s preferred greeting… Straightforward in its analysis yet profound in its conclusions, this uncommon selection sheds elusive light on the question of how Nazi ideology managed to penetrate even the most ordinary social interactions.”
—Booklist


Reviews from Goodreads

Back

About the Author

Tilman Allert

Tilman Allert is a professor of sociology and social psychology at the University of Frankfurt. This is the first of his books to appear in English.

Tilman Allert

Back

Buy the Book

Available Formats and Book Details

The Hitler Salute
On the Meaning of a Gesture
Tilman Allert

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
March 2009
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466832114
ISBN10: 1466832118
128 pages, Includes approximately fifteen black-and-white photographs and diagrams
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
March 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312428303
ISBN10: 0312428308
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 128 pages, Includes approximately fifteen black-and-white photographs and diagrams
$15.00
Back

From The Publisher

Metropolitan Books

Latest on Facebook

Latest on Twitter

Back